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Author Topic: keywords and image management thoughts  (Read 14127 times)
elpresi
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« on: July 12, 2006, 05:39:20 AM »

Hi all,
IMHO assigning searchable keywords to images is fundamental to modern image management.
Preferably those keywords are embedded in the image metadata (IPTC or XMP) and do not only reside in the program's database. This allows to easily migrate your photos to a different DAM program in the future (Digital Asset Management). A DB is also desirable to speed up sorting/searching/browsing operations of large collections.

Among the free programs,
Faststone or Irfanview do not allow to assign/embed keywords, while free XNView and cPicture can do it AND include a search tool (no DB though).
Picasa does everything that is needed; it has a great interface, has a  DB, performs well and allows to easily tag/caption/search your pictures. Tags and pics get embedded into JPEG IPTC metadata. The latest 2.5 beta does show folder structure and can embed "Geotags" (long./lat.) into a picture´s EXIF data with the help of GoogleEarth:
http://fileforum.betanews..._for_Windows/1067993856/1

Managing RAW files does get tricky as it is usually not possible to embed metadata into RAW files (and not recommended if possible). You either write it to an XMP sidecar file or else convert to Adobe DNG raw which is designed to have embedded metadata and preview.
Programs such as Idimager, IviewMediaPro and Imatch can write keywords to XMP/DNG; they are not free, IviewMP being the priciest (but has an academic discount).

Picasa 2.5 can read RAW files (incl DNG) but will not embed captions or tags into them; as a RAW user, my workaround is to shoot RAW+JPEG and to embed captions/tags into the JPEGs, which also act as very fast previews (if I have a JPEG I don´t need Picasa to show me the RAW file).
Incidentally those RAW shooters that convert to adobeRGB should be aware that Picasa is not colorprofile aware, use an external viewer that is  (such as Faststone but not XNview or Irfanview).

I did try the latest ACDSee and although ACDSeePro has an IPTC editor I believe it will not embed keywords into IPTC. Someone correct me if I am wrong.


Those are my hopefully useful 2 cents... 
smiley







Also, As it isand to successfully manage an image collection I think ii
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app103
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2006, 06:18:13 AM »

Extensis Portfolio is the grand-daddy of all DAM software.

Not free...not cheap by far ($199)...but it is the most powerful I know of.

It even has features for exporting a collection, with it's database, for burning to a CD, with a browsing application that is a scaled down read only version of itself.

And images isn't the only thing it can handle...it can handle sound files too...and video and all kinds of other document types. It can catalog anything you have on your hard drive.


Features:
Quote
Fast Cataloging: Fast cataloging quickly adds files to your Portfolio catalog in the background, allowing you to start working with them instantly.

Improved File Format Support for MS Office, DNG, RAW, Quark, Pro Video: Preview, index text and read metadata from the formats you use most, including: Microsoft Word and Excel files in Windows, full-screen previews from Adobe DNG RAW files, added support for current RAW files, and thumbnails and full-screen previews of Quark XPress documents (Mac).

Full Custom Sort: Drag and drop, reorder or sort items in galleries, SmartGalleries and disk folders. This information is retained separately for each user in a workgroup environment.

Scratchpad Galleries: Scratchpad galleries are temporary baskets used for sorting, editing and merging files from multiple galleries or searches into a single gallery. These can be used for printing, collecting or publishing.

Digital Camera Auto-Rotation: Portfolio now automatically rotates thumbnails and previews from digital cameras that record the camera’s orientation, streamlining photographers’ post-shoot workflow.

HTML Help, Video Tutorials, Sample Catalogs: The answers are at your fingertips with Portfolio’s new searchable HTML-based help system. We even include new sample catalogs with pre-mapped custom fields and SmartGalleries for specific workflows — making it easier to customize Portfolio to your needs.

Enhanced Item Properties: The properties dialog is now the one-stop location to find and edit any metadata. The most common information needed (such as file type, resolution and file size) has been consolidated to the first tab for faster viewing.

Leverage Previews: Portfolio’s ability to use Screen Previews rather than the original files makes the process of finding and sharing your files — even those that are offline — much faster.

Movie Metadata: Portfolio can now read common metadata such as frame rate, duration and audio tracks from video files.

Custom XMP Read and CS File-Info Panels: Take advantage of the IPTC4XMP standard known as IPTC Core, used by Adobe Creative Suite 2 applications. This effectively extends Portfolio’s custom fields into the most popular creative applications, allowing a two-way exchange of information.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg of what this program is and does. This does things the smaller programs can only dream of.

This is a program that if I could afford it, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

I have a collection of images I purchased that came on a CD with a copy of the free file browser. It's darn old (v4 from 1999) but I love using it.

Since it's just for browsing a database, you can't edit it or add any new images to it.

The full version of this and enough time and I would have everything on my hard drive cataloged.

So if you are looking for something a lot more serious, or for professional/corporate/commercial use, this program would be the one.
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2006, 03:16:10 PM »

Quote
I did try the latest ACDSee and although ACDSeePro has an IPTC editor I believe it will not embed keywords into IPTC. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

i believe it can, elpresi.

think i might give 'portfolio 8' another look, app - tried an older version but something didn't agree with me at the time.

i've yet to make the transition to using 'metadata' even though i tried to convince myself that it was an important feature when i was reviewing acdsee - i guess folder heirarchies and structure are something ingrained into me.
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elpresi
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2006, 05:40:17 PM »

Hi nudone,
I realize that ACDSeePro has an IPTC editor, thus obviously it is possible to write a keyword, caption, etc to IPTC.

My point is that programs such as Iview or Idimager can write/sync DATABASE keywords to IPTC. With Iview it is a manual operation while Idimager can be set to do it automatically (as Picasa does for JPEGs). This way, if you assign a keyword to a picture with the application, you can embed that tag into the IPTC metadata without invoking any IPTC editor.

So to get back to ACDSeePro, if you drag a picture into various keywords/categories, can you make ACDSee write those keywords to IPTC automatically (and not by manual entry in the IPTC editor)?

app:
Portfolio is a great application but to get back to my topic it apparently has some trouble writing metadata to XMP/DNG (raw files):
http://thedambook.com/smf/index.php?topic=26.0
In my experience v7 isn´t designed to keep a perfect sync between DBkeywords and IPTC keywords (it would append keywords to the existing ones and not keep them in sync). Don´t know how v8 behaves.
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elpresi
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2006, 05:53:24 PM »

Quote
i've yet to make the transition to using 'metadata' even though i tried to convince myself that it was an important feature when i was reviewing acdsee - i guess folder heirarchies and structure are something ingrained into me.

I think folder hierarchies and structure are very useful and intuitive.
Metadata (keywords,captions, etc...) are just one more tool to help you search and browse thru your pictures.
I usually include names and locations in the caption while include generic categories as keywords ("portrait", "BW", "landscape", "sports", etc...).
This allows me to very quickly find/gather photos of a particular location/person/subject that might be spread over very many folders ...
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2006, 12:59:46 AM »

ah, i see what you mean now, elpresi. automatically add the keywords - umm, no, i doubt acdsee can do that - i'll have a quick look but i can't remember seeing those kind of options.

it would be a useful feature to have - especially when considering your major point about moving to other managers.

i guess programs like acdsee don't have this feature as it's a way of locking you in to their software (or is it just an innocent oversight).
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JavaJones
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2006, 01:40:21 AM »

Am I alone in feeling like most of this is stuff that should be provided at the OS level? What frustrates me about using some application to embed this info is that unless all other apps are aware of it, it is really only useful to that one app. Yes IPTC, etc. are a standard now, and many programs do support it, but each has different methods for doing so. If I want to use one app to organize, one to edit, and one to view (customized slide shows), if they do not all interpret keywords, etc. the same then what good is the standard really? Very frustrating. This is the kind of thing I was hoping for with Vista. Instead most of what we get is transparent window borders. Wink

Portfolio sounds pretty awesome. A pity it's so damn expensive! I'm wondering how they can really justify such expense. I mean ok yes it could be vital to many people's workflow, but that is really a price for a professional. Actually what's odd is it is a price that could be a "steal" for a real pro, making good money off their assets and needing real professional management. On the other hand for a hobbyist it is a very high price. So it is sort of in that middle area, neither cheap enough for the hobbyist nor really as expensive as the functionality would justify for a real pro. It would be nice to see a cut down version or something (not too cut down) for the amateur.

- Oshyan
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nudone
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2006, 03:38:29 AM »

do any of the 'desktop search' programs read/store exif/iptc/etc/etc?
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app103
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2006, 04:16:43 AM »

Extensis Portfolio isn't a desktop search program. It's a cataloging program.

But if you catalog all your personal files, it might be able to be used as one.
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elpresi
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2006, 04:32:16 AM »

do any of the 'desktop search' programs read/store exif/iptc/etc/etc?

something like this? :
http://www.pixvue.com/product/search.html
http://www.pixvue.com/product/index.html
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JavaJones
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2006, 08:51:52 PM »

Oho! I like "free of charge"! cheesy PixVue may be right up my alley.

- Oshyan
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elpresi
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2006, 11:42:54 PM »

Yes, Pixvue has plenty of interesting features; it turns windows explorer into an image management application and raw viewer.
The really powerful feature is its "Galleries":
http://www.pixvue.com/help/organize.html
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elpresi
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2006, 07:17:34 PM »

News on the freeware department:
Idimager just released a free version of its image management program:
Idimager Lite, which is full featured (including XMP, DNG, etc...) and the most complete FREE image management program.
http://www.idimager.com/
Differences between Lite, Standard and Pro versions:
http://www.idimager.com/i...iew&id=13&Itemid=
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2006, 11:50:59 AM »

Adobe released the first beta of Lightroom for Windows (confusingly labeled Beta 3 because it's the third Mac release) a couple of days ago, which is free for the time being.  The Mac version has been available for some time now.  I haven't tried using the metadata features, but they are supported, and if I understand correctly will be written to XMP/DNG, IPTC, and the like when possible, like in Bridge.  The beta version is slow, but usable on my machine (1 GB RAM, Athlon64 3000+).  It supports most image formats, including any RAW format supported by Adobe Camera RAW, though RAW conversion is noticeably slower than in standard ACR.

Lightroom's beta versions are/will be free.  No word on the cost of the final product.
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom/
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Patrick O'Leary
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2006, 02:01:02 PM »

I posted a thread about Lightroom yesterday but no one responded  huh (here http://www.donationcoder....ic=4419.msg31278#msg31278)

It looks really nice, but if you think it is slow on your system try an Athlon XP 1600 (32 bit) ...

It is strange that it is so slow as one of the things they point out in the demo video is how quick and responsive it is. I don't really uinderstand why it appears so slow - actually and changes to photos you make are pretty much instant - it just continues to say processing.

The release date is not going to be before next year and the beta is time limited - one of the reasons they have released multiple betas on the Mac.

An interesting development is that Adobe just bought Pixmantec (who produced the excellent RawShooter). You can still download the RawShooter Essentials software (free) from www.pixmantec.com which is an excellent RAW workflow software and will remain available (according to Adobe). The premium version is being withdrawn but people who has a copy before the takeover will get a free copy of LightRoom when it is released. Adobe have already said that the pixmantec crew are joing the Adobe development team and the technology of RawShooter is to be incorporated into the windows version of LightRoom (and possibly the Mac version) - which is really good news.

Anyone who wants to manage photo collections and non-destructively process images (including batch processing) should check out LightRoom (and RawShooter Essentials) - at the very least the Adobe video is worth a look.
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2006, 12:06:51 PM »

Carol, I wouldn't be surprised if the Mac version of Lightroom actually *is* zippy. I've found Apple's ports of their Mac programs to Windows to always be a bit short of their Mac counterparts. This explains why Mac users love Quicktime so much when on the PC it's a slow, bloated piece of carp. Wink

- Oshyan
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2006, 12:30:58 PM »

I've found Apple's ports of their Mac programs to Windows to always be a bit short of their Mac counterparts.

To be clear, Lightroom is an Adobe, not Apple, product.  However, Adobe did originally develop the program on Mac, clearly as a response to Apple's Aperture product, with Windows development starting only recently.  That said, I expect future Lightroom for Windows betas will be quicker as Adobe gets the Windows version more up to speed with the Mac version.
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Patrick O'Leary
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2006, 01:56:49 PM »

Ah right, sorry about that. But yes, it's a product apparently originally devved on the Mac, so no surprise if it's slower on Windows. Hopefully that will improve. I think Photoshop, etc. are now fairly comparable Mac to PC, so that's good. It didn't use to be that way.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2006, 03:34:48 PM »

I don't think the Adobe flagship apps are particularly slower on PCs these days. Personally I think Windows LightRoom will be something special - having just brought in th ePixmantec crew to help produce it I think its RAW handling will be excellent. I am also sure the final product will be heavily optimized too - at the moment it is even slow browsing folders-  which is not typical of Adobe software.
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2006, 02:23:15 AM »

I didn't mean to imply Adobe software is slower on PC's *now*, it just was historically. Nowadays I think it's fairly even. But for *any* app developer the first dev platform is usually the better one, at least for a while. So this being apparently first devved on a Mac (or at least first released on one, thus more concentrated on is my thinking), I am guessing it's faster on the Mac side. We really need more Mac people on here to test stuff like this. cheesy

- Oshyan
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« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2006, 02:37:20 AM »

It's interesting that there was a huge outcry when the Adobe LightRoom beta was made available on the Mac but not on the PC (it is available on both now). Presumably this was because the Mac version was aiming to compete with another product and they weren't so interested in PCs.

Recently Mac users have been complaining that a lot of Adobe stuff seems to be more PC-centric. Not really surprising since that forms the vast majority of their market these days (by a big margin) whatever the historical situation was with the Mac.
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2006, 10:39:35 AM »

It is strange that it is so slow as one of the things they point out in the demo video is how quick and responsive it is. I don't really uinderstand why it appears so slow
They did post in a couple places that ...it is important to note that: ...    * We have not reached our performance goals on Windows and continue to work on improving speed in all aspects of the application.
 Wink
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« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2006, 02:53:06 PM »

Am I alone in feeling like most of this is stuff that should be provided at the OS level? [...] This is the kind of thing I was hoping for with Vista.
Actually you're not the only one, Microsoft is working on a new file system called WinFS that ought to be included in Vista but has been delayed. WinFS is a file system based on relational databases - so actually you could tag any of your files with any kind of metadata and be able to search for email messages of all people that show up on at least two photos taken in France. Cool
See wikipedia for details.

/edit: Oh, I see you're actually well informed of this.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2006, 02:57:34 PM by Jan-S » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2006, 06:21:55 PM »

Yeah.  Sad Where's my *sob* emitocon?  Cry just looks silly. Wink

- Oshyan
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